BAR HARBOR — Roxana Robinson will present an illustrated lecture entitled “Georgia O’Keeffe: Reading the Work as the Life” and will sign copies of her book at College of the Atlantic’s Gates Community Center on Friday, Oct. 9, beginning at 8 p.m.
Georgia O’Keeffe is arguably the 20th century’s leading woman artist. Coming of age along with American modernism, her life was rich in intense relationships — with family, friends and especially noted photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Her struggle between the rigorous demands of love and work resulted in extraordinary accomplishments. Her often-eroticized flowers, bones, stones, skulls and pelvises became extremely well known to a broad American public.
In her 1989 biography, “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life,” Robinson deftly explored these and other aspects of O’Keeffe’s life. “The New York Times Book Review” named the richly detailed and moving biography a Notable Book of the Year.
“Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life” does much to give body to the O’Keeffe myth,” according to The New York Times. “The author presents a person who was both vulnerable and fierce, passionate and coolly withholding, sensuous yet oddly unsexual. Benefiting from the O’Keeffe family’s cooperation, Robinson, a novelist who has written about American artists, draws on correspondence that was inaccessible to scholars during the artist’s lifetime. Robinson interviewed people who knew O’Keeffe and collated masses of information.
“Her detailed account takes us from ancestry to birth, education, the difficult forging of a career, first love, marriage, increasing renown, the move to New Mexico and finally to O’Keeffe’s peculiar liaison with Juan Hamilton, a lost soul who turned up on her doorstep asking for work in 1973 when he was 27, who became her last love and heir.”
Robinson is the author of nine books: five novels, including “Cost,” three collections of short stories, and the biography. Her work has appeared in “The New Yorker,” “The Atlantic,” “Harper’s Magazine,” The New York Times, The Washington Post, “BookForum,” “Best American Short Stories,” “Tin House” and elsewhere. She teaches in the Hunter MFA Program and divides her time between New York, Connecticut and Maine. She has received fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Fellowship and is the president of the Authors’ Guild.